(T-G Photo by Tracy Simmons) [Order this photo]
Tony Davis, a drama and speech teacher, began the Smokestack Theatre Group in 1994 with the school's first play "Wait Until Dark." Since then, the group has offered ambitious productions such as Steel Magnolias, The Wizard of Oz and It's a Wonderful Life.
This March, the group will present The Miracle Worker, based on the relationship between Helen Keller and teacher Anne Sullivan.
In 1999, the first Smokestack Theatre Festival was held, and remains the only high school theater festival in the area.
This year's festival features a day-long series of drama workshops and performances for local students. The event begins at 9 a.m. in the school's auditorium and ends at 2 p.m.
Instructors will include Anne Willingham of the Nashville-based Bradfield Lighting Company, who will lead a workshop on theatrical lighting design. Dalton Reeves of Martin Methodist College will host a session on theatrical play production, and Jennifer Grissom of the Murfreesboro Little Theatre will teach "old aged make-up."
Between sessions student performers will entertain as will Nathan Donaldson of the Shelbyville-based rock group Asher.
In the past, the festival has attracted students from The Webb School, Riverdale and Tullahoma high schools, Martin Luther King Magnet as well as sister schools Shelbyville Central and Cascade. This year, the Community Middle School will be the first junior high grade level group to attend.
The free event is sponsored by Community High School's Troupe 5412 of The International Thespian Society, the world-wide actors' fraternity. For more information about the event, contact Davis at 685-1418.